The Truth About Sharks

The Dog Days of Podcasting challenge began on Thursday. This is the text of my second episode, which you can hear at The BathtubMermaid

Truth About Sharks

“Shark week starts on Sunday,” I told my partner as we lounged among the smooshed pillows and rumbled sheets of our bed one hot July afternoon.

“How does a woman named ‘Desert Flower’ end up obsessed with sharks,” he asked, his long fingers idly stroking the skin of my arm.

“I don’t know…they’re sleek, they’re graceful, they’re elegant – ”

“They’re vicious – ”

“They aren’t, actually,” I corrected. “Anyway, I met one once.”

“You met a shark?”

I rolled over in bed, propping my chin on my hands and kicking my feet up behind me. “Mmhm. I was nine , and I was at the beach with my cousins.”

“Marina and Estella?”

“No. Nicky and Tony. Anyway, Tony had a raft – nothing fancy, just one of those inflatable pool toys – and the three of us were using it as a kickboard, not really paying attention to where we were, and suddenly we were almost at the ropes and buoys marking the channel.”

“Ropes and buoys?”

“You seriously need to visit the beach more.”

“We live in a landlocked state.”

“Details, details. Yes, ropes and buoys. You’re not supposed to swim past them. We’d drifted pretty far out – the tide was carrying us.”

“No one noticed?” He caught the end of one of my messy braids between two fingers and rolled it back and forth, tugging slightly.

“Oh, people noticed. The lifeguards were blowing their whistles and screaming for us to come in, and Aunt Nunzia was jumping up and down on the beach, a veritable poster child for the tern ‘conniption fit.’”

“So what happened?

“We turned around and started kicking and paddling for all we were worth – three little kids, sprawled across a single raft, in water so deep we couldn’t see the bottom, let alone touch it.”

“Obviously you made it back to shore.”

I pulled my head back, freeing my hair from his possession. “Obviously. Anyway, it felt like forever, but we finally got into shallower water, and the boys were able to touch bottom – they were taller than me – but I couldn’t quite. I held onto the raft and stretched my feet way down and I touched something…”

“Something…?”

“The something I was touching moved past me in the water, and scraped against my skin – it was like swimming past sandpaper.”

“That’s it? That’s your shark encounter? Did you even see the thing?”

“Well, no.”

“Then how do you know it was a shark?”

“Because that stretch of water is a nursery for white sharks.”

“That proves nothing.”

“And because I just know.”

“You do?” He was skeptical.

“Women always know.”

“Uh-huh.”

“No, it’s true. For example, I know that if I kiss you, you always smile.” I did, and he did. “And I know that given half a chance you’ll spend the entire day sleeping, and then complain you got nothing done.”

“That might be true.”

“It is true.”

“It still doesn’t answer the question,” he claimed. “Not really.”

It was also true that when I straddled him and began to kiss him again, he completely forgot whatever question he thought he’d been asking.

Her Name is Jane

Jane Honda

The Dog Days of Podcasting challenge began on Thursday. This is the text of my first episode, which you can hear at The BathtubMermaid

Her Name is Jane

We took her home on Tuesday evening, after a morning of testing, a discussion over a lunch of comfort food, and even using our “phone a friend’ option.

I said, “We should flip a coin.”

He said, “You know if we did that I’d insist that we flip it several times in a row, and then graph the responses.”

I said, “Three times is enough.”

We called our regular mechanic.

The manager said, “I like Subarus; they run forever. Get the 2015 Forester.”

The lead technician said, “I like Hondas; they run forever. Get the 2014 CR-V.”

After we hung up, he admitted that the manager’s first response was actually, “Buy whichever car the missus likes better.”
Smart man, that garage manager.

We called the dealer of the car we’d chosen, only to find that someone else was doing paperwork on it. “We have another one that meets all your specs,” he said, “but it’s got a navigational system, which means it’s $1,400 more expensive.”

He’d already tried to get us to consider a less expensive model than what we were considering, after listening to our needs and wants.
We bought the more expensive version.

Her name is Jane.

Jane Honda.

Sunday Brunch: That 70′s Summer

Slumber Party

My latest Sunday Brunch piece is up at All Things Girl. We’re filling the blog, while we continue to rebuild the rest of our site since it was hacked – badly – in June.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

If the “slumber party” was small – me and just one or two friends – we’d set up camp in my bedroom. If the group was larger, we’d take over the den or the living room. I’m sure we watched movies, but since VCRs were not yet commonplace, and DVDs hadn’t even been invented, but what I remember are the games and stories.

Slumber party games when I was seven, eight, and nine, were still pretty innocent, and the favorite thing to play was “Light as a Feather; Stiff as a Board.” There are many versions of it, and many explanations for why it becomes possible for four girls to lift a fifth using just two fingers each, but the reality is that as much as, as children, we wanted to pretend it was magic, the chant just helps to unify everyone, and the rest is basic physics.

The rest of the piece can be found HERE.

Image Copyright: creatista / 123RF Stock Photo

Dormant

reading in bed

It’s just over a month til my birthday (5 weeks from Sunday, actually) and I’ve entered the period of the year when I’m sort of creatively dormant. I think, I plan, I read, and lift weights, and play in the kitchen, but my writing slows down to the bare minimum.

Once the calendar page flips to August, however – once it turns to MY month – my creativity always comes surging back like a huge wave breaking over a jetty.

Cool, ferocious, blue-green creativity.

For now though, I have a pot of pasta that will soon become a bowl of aglia e olio, and a chilled wine that’s light and neither too sweet nor too dry, and a beachy novel to read.

Dormant? Maybe.

But it’s just part of my personal cycle.

Thursday 13: Rainy Day Quotations

Closeup of Little Girl in Red Boots by Michael Simons

I haven’t done a Thursday 13 in a while, I started this last Thursday when it was rainy, but then I never finished it for whatever reason. It’s not rainy today, but rather, windy, so I’m going to just do weather-related quotations. Enjoy.

  1. “Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” ~John Updike
  2. “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” ~Langston Hughes
  3. “Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.” ~Hosea Ballou
  4. “Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” ~Augustus Hare
  5. “A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.” ~Rachel Carson
  6. “There is a muscular energy in sunlight corresponding to the spiritual energy of wind.” ~Annie Dillard
  7. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” ~Alfred Wainright
  8. “The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” ~Joan Didion
  9. Spooky wild and gusty; swirling dervishes of rattling leaves race by, fleeing windflung deadwood that cracks and thumps behind.” ~Dave Beard
  10. “Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.” ~Earl Wilson
  11. “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
  12. “What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” ~Jane Austen”
  13. “What my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
    I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
    Under my head till morning; but the rain
    Is full of ghosts to-night, that tap and sigh
    Upon the glass and listen for reply…”
    ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Image Credit: Michael Simons via 123rf.com

Dancing Fools

Ballerina Warming Up by David Gilbert

“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”
~ Japanese Proverb

I’ve taken dance classes on and off since I was five years old. It started, as it does for most little girls, with ballet. Ballet is still my favorite.

Later it became tap, jazz (my second favorite), show dancing (basically lite ballroom meant for actors), and even hip-hop.

These days, I pretty much dance in my kitchen, and my living room. My life is a musical, and I sing and dance my way through every task, and even dance with my dogs. Especially Teddy. Teddy is an awesome partner. He’s part Catahoula, so dancing comes naturally.

I keep trying to convince Fuzzy to take a ballroom class with me, but he’s the quintessential white boy with no rhythm. He will, however, dance with me in the kitchen, when Teddy lets him cut in.

I love that we’ve been married 19 years and we still dance in the kitchen and sing silly songs to each other.

Image Credit:David Gilbert via 123RF.com

Starlight and Whalesong

Whale Encounter by Kareem Alqaq

Last Saturday, I went to see the grey whales, and got to pet one.

This morning, I wrote about it at All Things Girl.

Most of us think of humpback whales when we think of whale watching, but – at least here in Baja – it’s the grey whales you come to see, and it’s evident from their behavior that the whales are also here to see us. Quite social, it’s almost as if they’re trained. We are in the water with four other boats and there are three or four mother-calf pairs. The mothers, massive creatures that you never see in their entirety, stay farther away from us, monitoring the situation, but the calves are like puppies, going from boat to boat, rolling over to blink at you, or meet your gaze with theirs – they have eyelashes!!! – begging for skritches and belly-rubs, smiling and showing off their baleen.

Here’s an excerpt. For the whole piece, click here: Sunday Brunch: The Hottest Blood of All.

The Crimson Cape is LIVE!

SEMINAR_55_cover_by_Frank_Harbuck_III

Several months ago, I auditioned for a role at Pendant Audio, and even though I’d never done anything on their radar, I was cast.

Three days ago, the episode I was in – Episode 55 of their anthology series, Seminar, went live. My section: The Crimson Cape starts around 17 minutes in, but you should totally listen to the whole thing because it’s awesome.

Link to Seminar show page:
http://pendantaudio.com/seminar.php#new

Download the episode:

Seminar 55

Download the commentary track:

Seminar 55 Commentary.

Valentine…

valentine coffee

Happy Valentine’s Day. Several years ago, when I discovered this poem, it instantly became my favorite love poem EVER. For many years I posted it in my blog on Valentine’s Day. Last year, I posted a poem by Harold Pinter, instead.

As I write this, my Valentine is away on a business trip, so I won’t see him til tomorrow morning. Still, it seems appropriate to post this rather…earthy…celebration of love.

May this day be full of love and light no matter the status of your relationship.

Valentine
The things about you I appreciate
May seem indelicate:
I’d like to find you in the shower
And chase the soap for half an hour.
I’d like to have you in my power
And see your eyes dilate.
I’d like to have your back to scour
And other parts to lubricate.
Sometimes I feel it is my fate
To chase you screaming up a tower
Or make you cower
By asking you to differentiate
Nietzsche from Schopenhauer.
I’d like successfully to guess your weight
And win you at a fête.
I’d like to offer you a flower.

I like the hair upon your shoulders,
Falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders too: they are essential.
Your collar-bones have great potential
(I’d like your particulars in folders
Marked Confidential).

I like your cheeks, I like your nose,
I like the way your lips disclose
The neat arrangement of your teeth
(Half above and half beneath)
In rows.

I like your eyes, I like their fringes.
The way they focus on me gives me twinges.
Your upper arms drive me berserk.
I like the way your elbows work.
On hinges …

I like your wrists, I like your glands,
I like the fingers on your hands.
I’d like to teach them how to count,
And certain things we might exchange,
Something familiar for something strange.
I’d like to give you just the right amount
And get some change.

I like it when you tilt your cheek up.
I like the way you not and hold a teacup.
I like your legs when you unwind them.
Even in trousers I don’t mind them.
I like each softly-moulded kneecap.

I like the little crease behind them.
I’d always know, without a recap,
Where to find them.

I like the sculpture of your ears.
I like the way your profile disappears
Whenever you decide to turn and face me.
I’d like to cross two hemispheres
And have you chase me.
I’d like to smuggle you across frontiers
Or sail with you at night into Tangiers.
I’d like you to embrace me.

I’d like to see you ironing your skirt
And cancelling other dates.
I’d like to button up your shirt.
I like the way your chest inflates.
I’d like to soothe you when you’re hurt
Or frightened senseless by invertebrates.

I’d like you even if you were malign
And had a yen for sudden homicide.
I’d let you put insecticide
Into my wine.
I’d even like you if you were Bride
Of Frankenstein
Or something ghoulish out of Mamoulian’s
Jekyll and Hyde.
I’d even like you as my Julian
Or Norwich or Cathleen ni Houlihan.
How melodramatic
If you were something muttering in attics
Like Mrs Rochester or a student of Boolean
Mathematics.

You are the end of self-abuse.
You are the eternal feminine.
I’d like to find a good excuse
To call on you and find you in.
I’d like to put my hand beneath your chin,
And see you grin.
I’d like to taste your Charlotte Russe,
I’d like to feel my lips upon your skin
I’d like to make you reproduce.

I’d like you in my confidence.
I’d like to be your second look.
I’d like to let you try the French Defence
And mate you with my rook.
I’d like to be your preference
And hence
I’d like to be around when you unhook.
I’d like to be your only audience,
The final name in your appointment book,
Your future tense.

~John Fuller

Image credit: byheaven / 123RF Stock Photo